The Atlantic crossing didn't quite go as planned as you may have read in the earlier blogs, but there is always another opportunity popping up onto the horizon. On this occasion some friends have asked for our assistance in delivering their Bavaria 40 to Bulgaria, leaving from the Southern port of Kas in Turkey. We of course, a little jaded by our previous experience, were somewhat sceptical about joining another Captain and his vessel, however, as we have known this lovely couple for a few years, we could not say no and this is what life is for. New plans, challenges and adventures must be embraced where possible.
Since returning to Turkey in January where our home and trusty Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 36i reside, we have been pretty busy. Firstly by our house break in which occurred during our visit to the UK at the end of 2017. Our lovely home was broken into and our car had been stolen, car theft is completely unheard of in these parts, therefore, it is also a tricky predicament to resolve. As the Jandarma and Police are completely unused to this occurrence, they had little experience in handling the paperwork. To add to the dilemma....The car had since been recovered! It had been spotted driving around our local area with a very dim man at the wheel (who turned out to be the equally dim thief, who additionally filled it with fuel for us!)
Basically out car was recovered by the town Police, taken to the pound for safe keeping and awaiting our arrival. Unfortunately, the Jandarma were in charge of our case and as we have discovered, these two law enforcement groups fail to communicate. Our dilemma arose when one party signed a beautifully written letter to the other party, yet the town Court house had to negotiate the release of our poor car, but only after four visits to the Jandarma office, which is situated 40 minutes drive away from both the Police station and the Courts. Yes I did say 'drive', all very well when you have a car! Thankfully our great Turkish friend allowed us to borrow his car and we had lots assistance from our dear friends Yolande and Nigel and Erin
Our home also required some work due to the damage caused during the break in, not to mention the replacement of stolen items. That cost us dearly in emotional upset, as you can imagine some items are completely irreplaceable. Within a few weeks we had our little car parked neatly in front of the newly painted gate and lovely repaired home. (the little sod drove through the gate, yes through, not around!)
Moving on .......
Our yacht Kejstral sits sedately in the quiet little marina in Port Iasos near Gulluk. She has been awaiting her turn for our attention and her seasonal preparations. We finally drove down to the tiny, very Turkish village of Kiyikislacik which sits on the west coast just above the Bodrum Peninsula. The setting is fabulous, chirping birds greet us as we wind our way around the rough roads, tractors trundle past overloaded with mounds of green vegitation. Goats loiter by the grass verges gnawing at just about anything they can find while a solitary donkey calls out a presumably Turkish greeting. Cows turn to watch our car climb the hillsides as sheep slowly wander across our path oblivious to our presence. The landscape is a lush dark green mass of trees, foliage and undergrowth, fields are being tended everywhere we leisurely pass, this is Turkey at its most beautiful. Vibrant red, lilac and yellow flowers adorn the roadsides and flood the open land with spring colour, the smell of farmyards can be a little pungent however! The sun has joined us for our drive, warming our chilly bodies, February here can be very wet and cold, thunderstorms are frequent and the rain at times can be torrential, but not today thankfully.
The marina is extremely well sheltered and small, the staff can not do enough to assist despite the quiet winter period. By April things will have changed dramatically, this glorious green landscape will lose colour before dehydration begins and dusty brown land obliterates this sumptuous scenery. This little sedate unassuming port becomes a hub of activity with holiday guests, boat owners and vehicles, despite its remote location.
Kejstral looks pretty good on our arrival, she is missing the Genoa, solar panels, bimeny and spray hood as these were removed before the winter weather could damage them. Ropes are soft and pliable from the heavy rain as opposed to the solid rigid ones that languish in hot salty air during the sailing season. Dusty rusty patches encircle each stanchion and chrome fixture, we did lightly oil our chrome fixture prior to leaving last year and they have weathered very well.
Our first task.......Put the kettle on, well we aren't going sailing too soon, there are too many outstanding jobs to be done! Gas on, tea bags dunked and we are back, back to the lifestyle which has captured our enthusiasm and longing to travel.
Tasks, well there are plenty to keep us occupied until the weather is settled enough for our first sail. The bimeny was unfolded, dusted off having been scrubbed at the end of last season, putting it back on is always a challenge but we had no issues. Our three solar panels came next, these we though, might be safer tucked away over the windy wet winter. They are fitted on top of our bimeny and require very little maintenance, the cables were left insitu and the system hooked together perfectly for us (just a few hammering and drilling moments required) Next the spray hood, this had to be taken to the repair shop for new perspex panels, ours had detached at the seams and whilst travelling, staring out of very yellow tinged plastic panels is really not helpful.
Over the following few weeks each task was gradually addressed, the biggest challenge was replacing our rear engine mountings. These had never been perfect since our boat purchase, the rubber which protects the engine from movement and vibration had diminished with wear and tear. There had also been a small salt water leak from the water intake filter, causing terrible rust to the mount. In addition on starting the engine, there was a vibration which we knew was caused by the damaged mount. These pieces of kit, when purchased for a car, can cost £30 per mount, however, on a boat........£200 per mount!! We also had to source them from a reputable company, with reasonable delivery prices, not as easy as it should be. Lehur Marine, a fabulous chandler's in Izmir gave us the best price, therefore we had a few days in this huge city exploring, oh yes, and ordering our parts.
When Kevin came to remove our damaged mounts he just couldn't manage with the tools we had (which were new and plentiful since our lovely thief helped himself to our original batch) in addition the rust damage made it impossible to undo and grip the nuts. Our only option was to call for assistance, not what Kevin is used to, normally we try and tackle every job and usually do very well. On this occasion we had a Volvo mechanic and his buddy come to battle with our issue, 5 hours and lots of sweat, fibre glass itching and frustration later, the task was complete. Just need to start the engine to check for stability and alignment. Only problem there was we had drained every bit of fuel in order to clean out our diesel tank from the bacterial growth last year.....Oops. This means the mechanic cannot check his work and we may need to adjust the height of the engine mountings ourselves.
By early April, we had gas, water and fuel, a balanced engine that worked perfectly and that Kevin had serviced. Last job was to put back up our Genoa sail, again this had been removed, cleaned and stored for winter. The job isn't a difficult one, it just relies on an hour of calm weather to contain this massive 32 square meters of canvas. Typically, just as we hoist it, the wind appears from absolutely nowhere, then miraculously disappears as we complete the job.
Kejstral is nearly ready, we removed the mattress foam from our forward cabin as it wasn't quite thick enough for comfort and had developed its own penicillin range from moisture! This turned out to be a fairly cheap job by going to a local upholstery guy who didn't normally provide foam for boats. (We cut and shaped it ourselves)
Our tender Zoe, was deflated and rolled in a tarpaulin for protection, stored on board yet......Still needed repair despite putting it away clean and intact. The glue patches had come adrift where previous repairs had been carried out, therefore out came the rubber repair kit to tidy her up, she should last another year, we hope!
A few days later we have arranged to take Kejstral out for an overnight stay. The plan is only to test the engine and other systems for issues, whilst ensuring the solar is efficient. Our overnight stay turned into a four nights away with some lovely friends, Helen and Andrew and their yacht Kouros. Our first night was perfectly successful, we extended our trip as we wanted to sail with these friends before our trip up to Bulgaria, and time was running short. Our only issue with Kejstral throughout our trip was overheating of the engine, this could have been caused by either the impeller failing to draw water through the cooling system, or the debris gathered on our hull over winter, could easily have gathered on the propeller and intake ports. Fortunately we have the ability to look under water at our hull with a camera which found barnacles adhered to everything, in fact our propeller is almost double it's normal size! I guess we have found our problem. As long as we motor slowly and keep the revs down the engine will cope until the debris can be removed. Our plan is to take Kejstral out of the water on June the first for anti fouling and a thorough check. Until then we will not be sailing too much as our journey to Bulgaria on 'Indian Summer' takes place in only a few days, on our return mid May, we can address the issue.
Bulgaria here we come 21st April 2018